"A new digital infrastructure and language is developing: the ‘internet of things’, big data, smart cities and crowdsourcing."

Mobile First

We are travelling towards a world of ‘mobile first’.  

In all areas of daily life, and in many work situations, the preferred platform for online activities is increasingly mobile – handheld or wearable.

This behavioural change is touching all aspects of society. A generation of ‘digital natives’ is shaping a world that is driven by connectivity, innovation and a mobile-first focus.

A new digital infrastructure and language is developing: the ‘internet of things’, big data, smart cities and crowdsourcing.

We are all driving this story, and our use of mobile devices has become second nature: 

  • 95% of people in the UK have access to one mobile device (and about a third of us have more than one – smartphones, tablets, etc.);  
  • We use fewer ‘traditional’ telephone calls and text messages;  
  • ‘Social’ applications such as Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat and Instagram have become one of the most natural two-way communication channels – whether privately, among a close group of friends, or with the world at large.  

There are several factors that have changed the way we behave, get informed and interact with the world that surrounds us:

  • ‍Wide availability of internet access - underpinned by a fixed and mobile network infrastructure, including public and private wifi networks;
  • The number of devices connecting to the internet - smartphones, tablets, TVs, games consoles;
  • The affordable price of connecting to the internet, including data plans;
  • The wide availability of content, services and applications at little or no cost.
  • The power of mobile devices;

A recent development is that mobile devices are not only connecting people: they are also connecting ‘things’. For example, a SIM card can be fitted into a freezer van, so that the temperature can be monitored and recorded remotely in real time.

At the last count, 6.3 million ‘things’ were connected in the UK (Ofcom) [1]. This trend has led to the phrase ‘internet of things’, which refers to connected devices communicating over the internet (whether fixed or mobile).

Worldwide, the number of connected devices is estimated to reach 50 billion in 2020 [2]. All of these devices will generate ‘small data’, the accumulation of which, in turn, becomes ‘big data’. Such ‘big data’ can then be analysed to provide endless insights that can be used to solve many problems that the world currently faces. 

Notes:
1. Page 295, Ofcom communications marketing report 2015
2. Gartner, 2015